The Casual Vacancy
I can still remember reading the Harry Potter series as a child, being enthralled by the stories which captivated me into a magical world. With all the magic spells, the odd creatures, and the fantasy world which J.K. Rowling had brought to life through her words drawing the audiences in is no longer the world of “The Casual Vacancy.” The author, who once had kid’s imaginations twirling and turning, has now made reality so grounded that this book is simply rated R.
It’s a book entwined with suicide, rape, prostitution and drug addiction as the story is set suburban town that goes by the name of Pagford where it starts out with the death of the Parish Councillor Barry Fairbrother as he suffers from aneurysm which eventually leads to the politics and social issues in the book as the death leads to an empty seat on the council. Conflict arises as to who is to take his place and those that run in the elections find their darkest secrets revealed on the Parish Council, which leaves their campaign ruined and destroying their chances of being elected. The book is split into seven different parts as stories of the various citizens of the town running for the elections are shown. And in the middle of that the novel focuses on the traumatic life of a 16 year old girl by the name of Krystal Weedon who lives in the town of Fields with her mother Terri who happens to be a prostitute and a heroin addict with a 3 year old brother. It is on this side of the novel where prostitution, drugs, and rape play in.
New York Times describes the book to be a “toy town” story. Where not every bit of detail is given about the character as it was through the several books which was written in the Harry Potter series, however the book is full of drama, with a hint of humor thrown in here and there which is turned darker by the two abrupt deaths which occur which leaves the readers tripping on from one emotion to another. To wrap it up, the book drags on, but for someone who wants to be brought to the reality of a life so traumatized, this is a book just for them. A book full of secrets, gossip and dark humor so to say, Rowling writes out a book which takes one from the reality of what is the truth, without placing them in a fantasy world, but a dark humored one.